ONE thing is for sure: Bath will be the all-singing and all-dancing place to be over the Spring Bank Holiday this year from May 1 – May 4.
For the last two years, Bath music man Grenville Jones has organised his Bath Showcase charity concert at the Bath Forum on the first Saturday in May. These have raised over £30,000 for local community groups, working with the Chairman of Bath & North East Somerset Council who has chosen the groups who receive the support.
This year, in his inimitable style, Grenville is going a few steps further, turning the Showcase idea into a weekend of music called Bath Sing for Life. Grenville started talking to local businesses last summer, looking for sponsorship support.
He has raised over £20,000 to date. The main Bath Sing for Life sponsor is Wessex Water, with a long list of other backers.
“Bath was buzzing on that Spring Bank Holiday last year, but apart from my showcase concert there was very little else happening. This year things will be different. Not only will there be the Bath Sing for Life concerts, but James Whitehead is also running his Bath Dance Festival that weekend, and of course there is the annual Bath Spring Flower Show at Royal Victoria Park.
“If you live in Bath, get your guest room ready and ask your friends from around the UK. Let’s make our city a lively and happy place to be between May 1st and 4th.”
Bath Sing for Life will be raising money for Dorothy House Hospice Care, Forever Friends and Golden Oldies. Grenville’s target is £30,000.
On Friday May 1st, there will be 4 concerts all starting at 7.45pm featuring local singers. St. Mary Bathwick will welcome the Bath Minerva Choir and the Paragon Singers. This concert is sponsored by Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons and Zenith International.
The Bath Cantata Group and the Jane Lilley Singers will be in concert at St. Stephen’s Lansdown. Rotork Controls and Buro Happold are the sponsors.
St. Luke’s Wellsway will welcome the Bath Community Gospel Choir and the RUH Community Choir, sponsored by The Podium and Bath Chamber of Commerce.
St. John’s Catholic Church in South Parade will host a concert by the ‘Last Choir Standing’ top five, The City of Bath Male Choir with Grenville Jones’ new choir, THE Bath Chorus. The sponsors here are Mowbray Woodward Solicitors and Richardson Grove Accountants.
“I would like to especially thank all the choirs, who are taking part without charge. Friday concert tickets will all be priced £12.50 and I hope that the people of Bath will turn out to pack all of the four churches, so we can really get the weekend off to a fantastic start,” adds Grenville.
As well as the Dance Festival events taking place on the streets of Bath through the weekend, Saturday will see talented young musicians from Bath Spa University playing at city centre venues such as The Podium, Milsom Place, Jolly’s, M&S and BHS.
The Rodolfus Choir are without question one of the premier youth choirs in Europe. Aged between 18 and 25, they are all aspiring professional musicians who have been selected from the annual Eton Choral courses. They regularly record on Radio 3, were the choir chosen by Katherine Jenkins to sing on her CDs, and are led by Ralph Allwood from Eton College. They will be in concert at Bath Abbey on Saturday evening May 2nd, a concert featuring popular choral music from across the ages that is bound to sell out very quickly.
One of Europe’s leading organists, David Goode will also play at the Bath Abbey concert.
Also on the Saturday, the Bath Forum will host a singing workshop for young people aged between 9 and 17 called Worldsong. Sponsored by Bath Building Society, the workshop will be taken by one of the leading youth choir conductors in the world, Mike Brewer OBE.
This workshop is being supported by the music advisor team at Bath and North East Somerset Council. On Saturday evening at 7.30 p.m, the workshop will form the basis for a concert, which will also feature the Curtain-Up theatre group, the Bath Youth Gospel Choir and Cantilena.
Top jazz vocalist Clare Teal will headline at the Bath Pavilion on Sunday evening May 3rd, the final Bath Sing for Life event for the weekend, sponsored by Tesco. Appearances on shows like Parkinson have put Clare right at the top of the jazz tree. Supporting Clare at the Pavilion will be the fabulous Stockingtops all-girl swing group, another evening not to be missed.
Other local sponsors backing Bath Sing for Life are Ralph Allen Press, World Market Travel, First Office, Money Wise, Cross Manufacturing, Touchstone, Aqua Sulis Guesthouse, The Royal Hotel and Tolley Cottage. Media supporters are the Bath Chronicle and GWR West.
With the support of the Council, promotional literature will be sent all around the UK targeting visitors to the city. Group travel and accommodation are in the capable hands of Bath-based European Connoisseurs Travel.
See www.bathsingforlife.org.uk for full details. All concert tickets are available from the Bath Festivals Box Office, tel. 01225 463362 or call Rosie at Grenville’s office on 01761 472468.